Notes on A Discourse on Winning and Losing

To flourish and grow in a many-sided, uncertain and
ever-changing world that surrounds us, suggests that
we have to make intuitive within ourselves those many
practices we need to meet the exigencies of that world.
The contents, hence the five sections that comprise this
Discourse, unfold observations and ideas that contribute
toward achieving or thwarting such an aim or purpose.
• “Patterns of Conflict” represents a compendium of
ideas and actions for winning and losing in a
highly competitive world;
• “Organic Design for Command and Control” surfaces the implicit arrangements that permit cooperation in complex, competitive, fast moving situations;
• “The Strategic Game of ? and ?” emphasizes the
mental twists and turns we undertake to surface
schemes or designs for realizing our aims or purposes;
• “Destruction and Creation” lays out in abstract
but graphic fashion the ways by which we evolve
mental concepts to comprehend and cope with
our environment;
• “Revelation” makes visible the metaphorical message that flows from this Discourse.
– From the abstract of A Discourse on Winning and Losing

Notes on Patterns of Conflict

Patterns of Conflict was a presentation by Colonel John Boyd outlining his theories on modern combat and how the key to success was to upset the enemy’s “observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop”, or OODA loop. Patterns developed the idea of a “counter-blitz”, a blitzkrieg in reverse, with numerous attacks followed by withdrawals to the rear. The aim was to confuse the enemy by presenting no apparent strategy, reveal the enemy’s intentions through the strength of the response, and present a misleading picture of the defender’s own actions in order to disrupt the attacker’s future plan of action.